DUBAI // A world premiere from an Emirati filmmaker is among 13 films from across the Arab world that have been shortlisted as the best of features, documentaries and shorts for the Muhr Arab Awards at the Dubai International Film Festival (Diff).
A total of eight world premieres in the competition will include Hamama, a film by the Emirati filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem about a 90-year-old healer who is visited by hundreds every day, and Les Malaki - Les Habits Des Anges (Malaki - Scent of an Angel), in which the Lebanese filmmaker Khalil Zaarour follows relatives of people reported missing after the civil war in Lebanon.
Erfan Rashid, the director of Diff's Arab programming, said: "The documentaries offer a perfect kaleidoscope into the day-to-day life in the Arab world, as well as tales that highlight individual plights, struggles and triumphs. All the selected works are of outstanding quality and will offer intense competition."
Other world premieres on the shortlist for the documentary section are Saqf Dimashq Wa Hykayat Al Jannah (Damascus Roof and Tales of Paradise), a film by Soudade Kaadan about how the Syrian tradition of storytelling is being lost by modernisation, and Abdallah al Ghoul's Tathkara Min Azrael (Ticket from Azrael),a powerful account of a Palestinian man digging an escape tunnel from Rafah in the Gaza Strip through to Egypt.
Masoud Amralla al Ali, the festival's artistic director, said: "The Muhr Arab Documentary segment captures the modern-day social, cultural and political dynamics of the region. These movies, by filmmakers in the region as well as those based abroad, highlight the power of documentaries in capturing the sociocultural dynamics."
The other films come from Arab filmmakers in Egypt, the Netherlands, Denmark and France.